Toronto Blue Jays: Checking in on Fan Favourites
Blue Jays Career (2013-2015): .242/.326/.627
For a journeyman, glove first infielder, Kawasaki found a way to become a face of the Blue Jays. After signing a minor league deal prior to the 2013 season, he was called up to the big league club in early April after Jose Reyes suffered an ankle injury. From then until 2015, up and down from Buffalo, Kawasaki provided Blue Jays fans with memorable and noteworthy performances and appearances. This included memorable interviews, clutch hits, and nifty glove work throughout the infield.
Kawasaki left the team after the 2015 season and went on to sign a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs. That contract would see him play 102 games with the Iowa Cubs in AAA and 14 games with the big league team. He made use of this short sample size as a 35-year-old, hitting .333 while spending time at second and third base. He would be awarded a World Series ring after the 2016 season, as the Cubs would go on to beat the Cleveland Indians in 7 games. Kawasaki would join the team on the bench, without being a part of the playoff roster.
2016 would be the last year Kawasaki played professional baseball in North America. In 2017, he returned to Japan to play for the Softbank Hawks of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. He played 56 games over the 2017 season.
In March of 2018, he retired from baseball after being released from his contract with the Hawks. This came as a result of a series of injuries that prevented him from being the player he’d like to be.
As recently as 2020, Kawasaki made an appearance with an Indy Ball team in Japan, homering on the first pitch he saw. Blue Jays fans everywhere will have fond memories of Muni, and he remains one of the top personalities in team history.